“Don’t click at it! It’ll scar!”
With the inception of social networks, a new way to torture yourself over past liked ones was introduced. After a memorably quotable and snapshottable evening at Slide, my girlfriends and I discussed what a bad idea it is to go online after dark.
The problem is not so much that you can be stalked. If you can manage yourself and work those privacy filters to your advantage, you won’t have much to worry about. (Tip: Deleting a picture from Facebook or MySpace does not delete the file from the server. That’s very good to know.)
The problem is the access to information. A good chunk of twentysomethings these days have personal computers to call their own, so the possibility that you land on an ex-lover’s page is totally there, just a click or two away.
I’ve had a handful of ex dreams that have ruffled my feathers and left me confused. I blame the bulk of these on having meandered through MySpace or Facebook close to my sleeping hours. You’d think we’d all learn by now: Do not look at your ex’s profile after dark. It sticks with you in your subconscious.
The worst situation is not having closure to your relationship: the non-closed ended relationship, where things were not handled like adults, but rather the relationship seemed to have just fallen off the face of the coupledom planet.
Letting Go 2.0
When a relationship ends, it takes some will power to cut things off as they need to be. I remember “breaking up” with someone but being so unsatisfied by the “resolution” that I was compulsive about checking on his profile. Nothing I didn’t already know about him surfaced, but regardless, I had to see what was being updated.
Too embarrassed to turn to my friends for consult (True Life: I can’t stop looking at his MySpace.), I decided I needed to make my own Two-Step Program. (The standard twelve would have given the relationship too much stock.) At the time I was working three days a week in a specialized library, so I told myself “Okay, we are only allowed to check his MySpace while we’re at work. Since we shouldn’t be looking at boys during work, this will make us feel bad. And we should. This is silly.”
Eventually I was only checking his profile during break.
Eventually I was finding less reason to pull up his URL, because as it turned out, he wasn’t tied to the Internet the way I was. It sometimes took him weeks to put up something new.
Work at the library didn’t become any busier, but I was feeling less and less compelled to deviate from my data entry and research, and soon reached a point where seeing his MySpace three times a week simply wasn’t necessary.
I started to limit myself to checking his MySpace on Wednesdays. It was senior year and the library project was almost finished. My mind was either elsewhere or wholly focused on finishing up library set-up projects.
It took that much.
Observation from a Distance
If I wasn’t of this generation and didn’t grow up with a keyboard at my fingers, I can only wonder what kind of unsatisfied person I would have been post break-up. I’m not a phone talker and we weren’t a phoning couple, so I wouldn’t have blown up his cell. I have never found it within my nature to drive by and throw pebbles at someone’s window. I also have never turned to “the bottle” for any sort of therapy because, well, in my book, drinking while you’re emotional is stupid. Recipe for disaster; recipe for embarrassing stories.
So what else did pre-computer people do when they felt like they needed answers? Where else could one receive assurance that The Ex is doing badly, or that they were doing great(ly)? Or, in my case, just to see that she or he still exists?
Thanks to the Internet, we’ve got instant porn, instant sports scores, and instant stock reports, but we’ve also got instant Ex Updates. Most Exes are probably not skilled enough to track if someone’s peeking at their profiles, but it’s all too easy for one Ex to check in on the other.
I can proudly say I successfully I stopped looking at his profile by graduation of senior year.
But now, thanks to a couple of bored, idle nights, I know he’s growing a rather douche-y looking mustache, so we all know how that’s gone.
If I know what’s good for me, I won’t type in those letters when I’m getting ready for bed.
Here’s to the persisting effects of lack of closure.
Damn you, Internet.
Editor’s Note: The masochistic nature of this post heavily influenced and brought to you by Miami Animal Police. Why do I watch this stuff? It’s torture!